Governor Kim Reynolds announced a new entry-level driver training program in Iowa to provide more opportunities for interested truckers to earn their commercial driver’s license.
“Like the rest of the country, Iowa also has a high demand for truck drivers, and to meet that demand, we need innovative solutions that lower the barriers for anyone looking to get a CDL,” Reynolds said in a written statement. “This new program will remove the barriers that currently exist to obtaining a CDL and provide support to organizations that sponsor these essential training opportunities right here in Iowa.”
Iowa’s New Beginner Driver Training Program will provide $6 million to support employers, nonprofits or related organizations that sponsor or partner with key training programs designed to prepare prospective drivers CDL skills or knowledge tests. The grant program hopes to remove costly barriers and ultimately create more drivers with CDL licenses statewide.
“The Entry-Level Driver Training Program offers more opportunities to earn a CDL, but it also makes it easier for employers to recruit and train their own drivers,” said Beth Townsend, Iowa’s Workforce Development Director. “This effort will also make our state more competitive in these high-demand areas by helping employers provide the right training when and where their workers need it.”
Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented entry-level driver training, requiring all new drivers to complete additional training requirements on top of existing CDL standards. Current CDL training can be expensive and/or limited, making it more difficult to obtain or upgrade a license despite much higher demand for drivers. All training providers and drivers are required to meet all Federal Driving Standards under the Beginner Driver Training Program.
The Iowa Beginner Driver Training Program grant funding will reimburse eligible Iowa organizations that offer these essential training programs, either in-house or through partnerships with certified training providers. If the program is offered in-house, the reimbursement can be used for instructor salaries, instructional materials, and maintenance needs. If the program is offered by external training providers, reimbursement must go toward the entry-level driver training program tuition.
Eligible applicants are Iowa-based employers, employer consortia, and nonprofit organizations that employ Iowa CDL drivers and provide entry-level driver training in-house or through a partnership with third-party certified training providers.
Funds are administered as reimbursement only after documented training certification and CDL examination within 30 days of a participant’s first day of training (first day of driving or theory).
Applications will be accepted on IowaGrants.gov beginning December 13 and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on February 3, 2023.